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European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR)
News article21 December 2021Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations

A new EU policy to support Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration of former combatants


Today, the High Representative and the European Commission put forward the European Union's new policy to support disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of former combatants (DDR), as part of the EU's wider contribution to peacebuilding. This new Joint Communication outlines a new EU strategic approach to support DDR processes and reflects the ambition of a stronger Europe in the world as a global peace actor.

This revised policy strengthens the EU's capacity to contribute to the prevention and sustainable resolution of armed conflicts that destabilise entire regions, affect the security of the EU and its citizens, and undermine development gains and resilience.

High Representative/Vice-President, Josep Borrell, said: “Today's conflicts are no longer the same they were 15 years ago. They require stronger engagement to better address the challenges posed by armed groups and the complex conflict drivers across international borders. Disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of former combatants plays a key role in the EU's efforts towards sustainable peace and prevention of resurgence of violence. The EU will increase its impact on these processes by making full use of available policies, tools, and instruments across different sectors.”

EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi, said: “Stability and prosperity but also security are priority objectives for our relations with our direct neighbours. With this initiative we are addressing an important challenge. By making our partners more stable, we make the EU more secure.”

EU Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, said: This Communication provides a new, solid foundation for the EU's engagement for supporting transitions from conflicts to sustainable peace. I am particularly glad of the emphasis given on active consultation, engagement and participation of those concerned, especially women and youth. This is key to preventing further violence, promote sustainable peace and ensure an inclusive development in the long run paving the way for reducing inequalities in societies.

DDR as a part of the Integrated Approach

The success and sustainability of a DDR process is highly dependent on a wide range of other efforts, including dialogue and mediation, security sector governance and reform, inclusive and sustainable development, transitional justice, prevention and countering of violent extremism, tackling organised crime and illegal exploitation of natural resources, and the management of small arms and light weapons. In this light, the EU's new DDR policy draws on the broad range of tools that are part of the Integrated Approach to Conflicts and Crises, taking into account the UN Integrated DDR Standards. The new policy will effectively contribute to peacebuilding and enhancing resilience of communities affected by fragility and conflicts.

The way forward

The EU's contribution to DDR processes will rely on:

  • Enhanced political engagement, informed by thorough assessments that enable a realistic, flexible and a conflict-sensitive approach to DDR;
  • Strengthened coordination between the EU and its Member States to link short-term, swift responses with long-term engagement, connecting humanitarian, development and peace efforts;
  • Strengthened cooperation with key partners, including the United Nations, the African Union and other regional organisations, national actors and civil society organisations;
  • Making DDR initiatives more effective at regional level and across borders by ensuring linkages and synergies with other regional and national peacebuilding efforts, in particular in the areas of Security Sector Reform and Preventing Countering Violent extremism.


The new policy updates the EU's DDR concept of 2006, which allowed the EU to support DDR processes through a broad range of tools in a wide range of contexts, including through CSDP presence in Aceh, as part of development cooperation and budget support in Colombia, and as a facilitating actor in Nigeria. This revised policy ensures that the EU's ambition of a stronger Europe in the world is reflected in the EU's approach to DDR and its support to sustainable peace, in line with international best practices.

For More Information

Joint Communication

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